Tag Archives: romance

Review of My Once and Future Duke (The Wagers of Sin #1), by Caroline Linden

I won a copy of Caroline Linden‘s My Once and Future Duke through Goodreads.

Description:

What happens at the infamous Vega Club . . . 

Sophie Campbell is determined to be mistress of her own fate. Surviving on her skill at cards, she never risks what she can’t afford to lose. Yet when the Duke of Ware proposes a scandalous wager that’s too extravagant to refuse, she can’t resist. If she wins, she’ll get five thousand pounds, enough to secure her independence forever.

Stays at the Vega Club . . . 

Jack Lindeville, Duke of Ware, tells himself he’s at the Vega Club merely to save his reckless brother from losing everything, but he knows it’s a lie. He can’t keep his eyes off Sophie, and to get her he breaks his ironclad rule against gambling. If he wins, he wants her–for a week.

Until now. 

A week with Jack could ruin what’s left of Sophie’s reputation. It might even cost her her heart. But when it comes to love, all bets are off . . .

Review:

Having just finished My One and Only Duke, I figured I might as well stick with the ducal theme and read My Once and Future Duke next. When I cross-posted to Amazon/Goodreads, I gave bother books three stars. But this is a good example of how inadequate that middle rating can be, because I like My One and Only Duke a lot more than My Once and Future Duke. There was simply more meat to it. But neither was good enough for a 4-star or bad enough for a 2-star.

I thought this book was perfectly adequate. The writing was sound and the characters unobjectionable. But it was a fairly one-dimensional story, focusing quite heavily on sex. Which is fine. I’m not complaining on that front. But I was a tad bored with the book, on the whole. All in all, this is one of those books you finish and go, “Meh.” It wasn’t great or horrid, but it passed the time pleasantly enough.

Review of My One and Only Duke (Rogues to Riches #1), by Grace Burrowes

I won a paperback copy of Grace BurrowesMy One and Only Duke through Goodreads.

Description:

A funny thing happened on the way to the gallows…
One minute, London banker Quinn Wentworth is facing execution. The next, he’s declared the long-lost heir to a dukedom. Quinn has fought his way up from the vilest slums, and now he’s ready to use every dirty trick he knows to find the enemy who schemed against him.

There was just one tiny problem…
Jane Winston, the widowed, pregnant daughter of a meddlesome prison preacher, crosses paths with Quinn in jail. Believing his days are numbered, Quinn offers Jane marriage as a way to guarantee her independence and provide for her child. Neither thinks they’ll actually have a future together.

They were wrong.
He’s a wealthy gutter rat out for vengeance. She’s a minister’s daughter who must turn a marriage of desperation into a proper ducal union. Are they doomed from the start or destined for a happily-ever-after? 

Review:

This isn’t at all bad. It is, in fact, very sweet. But there is almost no tension in the whole book and the mystery is definitely a sub-plot. The real story is two very different people, who didn’t expect to be thrown together, getting to know one another and falling in love. I liked Burrowes’ writing style though and didn’t dislike either of the main characters, so I would be glad to read more. 

As for the bonus short story by Elizabeth Hoyt (Once Upon a Christmas Eve), I didn’t like it at all. I suspect Hoyt just isn’t for me. Watching women fall in love with men who are basically dicks to them and hearing their sob stories infuriates me. 

Review of Shades of Milk and Honey (Glamourist Histories #1), by Mary Robinette Kowal

I borrowed an audio copy of Mary Robinette Kowal‘s Shades of Milk and Honey through my local library.

Description from Goodreads:

Shades of Milk and Honey is an intimate portrait of Jane Ellsworth, a woman ahead of her time in a world where the manipulation of glamour is considered an essential skill for a lady of quality. But despite the prevalence of magic in everyday life, other aspects of Dorchester’s society are not that different: Jane and her sister Melody’s lives still revolve around vying for the attentions of eligible men. 

Jane resists this fate, and rightly so: while her skill with glamour is remarkable, it is her sister who is fair of face, and therefore wins the lion’s share of the attention. At the ripe old age of twenty-eight, Jane has resigned herself to being invisible forever. But when her family’s honor is threatened, she finds that she must push her skills to the limit in order to set things right–and, in the process, accidentally wanders into a love story of her own.

Review:

This is the third book in a row that I’ve finished disappointed in. I found it uninspiring. Yes, I see all the Jane Austen parallels. But they didn’t endear the book to me. I thought Jane was a bit of a doormat. She seemed smart, so I was bothered that she’d kept forgiving her sister Melody. The sister who was basically just jealous and manipulative. 

The fortune hunter aspect was blatantly obvious. Again, Jane was smart. How was I really to believe she didn’t see the situation for exactly what it was?

A whole presumed romance was set up and then a marriage proposal came from someone the reader hadn’t been given to feel invested in. (Was that meant to be a twist? It just felt hollow.) Basically, despite being told Jane’s feelings for one man for an entire book, the fact that another had feelings for her was supposed to be enough to make it magical. Bah. Boring. 

The actual magic in the book was pointless. It would have made more sense for them to simply be artist, painters maybe. It was just clutter in the plot. 

Lastly, I really wish the author hadn’t chosen to do the audio version herself. She did a fine job in the narration sections, but lord the dialogue was stiff. It was painful combination of being written without contractions and the stilted way Kowal read it. I almost gave up several times.